People are up in arms over the selection of Joseph Fiennes to play Michael Jackson in an upcoming half hour comedy about a slice of Jackson’s life, a road trip he took with Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando after 9/11. People are complaining, since there are already too few roles for blacks. When a major biopic about a black man is made, why give the role to a white man? (A Brit at that?)
“That’s like getting Angela Bassett to play Sophia Loren,” Wendy Williams said on her talk show. “You just don’t do that! With the roles so few and far between for a lot of black actors, I feel like even if they couldn’t get a name they could’ve got somebody that we don’t know.”
But I say, BRAVO! I’m sick and tired of being told “Sorry, Stacey, this is a Caucasian-only role.” Counterintuitively, this decision by Hollywood — which looks like a diss to blacks — is actually what we’ve been saying all along: roles should NOT be based on color.
Don’t believe me? What’s the hottest ticket on Broadway right now? Hamilton, the musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda based on the biography written on Alexander Hamilton’s life. The show, which pre-sold $10 Million worth of tickets, “uses mostly actors of color to play ‘old, dead white men.’” It’s a hip hop, rap battle version of American history… Thomas Jefferson is black. Alexander Hamilton is Puerto Rican. LOVE it.
I don’t care about the race of the actors portraying historical figures and I can’t wait to see Joseph’s portrayal of Jackson… It’ll be amazing as long as he plays him truthfully and authentically.
This decision throws that white-only card out the window. They can’t look at black actors and say, “Sorry this role is Caucasian-only.” Roles should not be dictated by race. There’s no reason why the lead roles in Homeland, Veep, or Penny Dreadful have to be white (my favorite shows by the way). I want to see more of this diversity and thinking outside of the box with the equality that this designation entails – this is the right track.
Yes, I’m asking for a lot. Yes, I’m going against the flow of traffic. Yes, I will receive hate over this.
Guess what? I don’t care. I have wings….
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